Then comes a rejuvenated public discussion (I'd call it a debate but I don't think its happening broadly enough yet) about tax breaks for charitable giving and whether or not they should be aligned in some way with broad public priorities or more generous for poverty and human welfare than for, say, education or the arts.
And I am just ending 3 days in Santa Monica spent at the Professional Leaders Project ThinkTank3, where a select slice of American Jewry is discussing and modeling and creating leadership opportunities for young adults (20 somethings). In this context the discussion of philanthropy and community priorities came up over and over again.
Coincidentally, a few large American foundations (Annie E Casey, EOS) also chose today to launch a new Spotlight on poverty that will attempt to bring the issue to the forefront of the 2008 Presidential campaign. This is a somewhat similar goal to the Strong American Schools campaign funded by the Gates and Broad Foundations to bring education to greater prominence in the discussion.
Check out the Spotlight on Poverty website for a one-stop resource with links to community data, local and national poverty fighting efforts, political viewpoints and platforms as expressed by candidates of both major political parties. Perhaps this effort will join forces with 10Questions, CurrentTV, ThinkMTV, MySpace, and the YouTube debates and actually demand political action.
You can submit information on local efforts, access databases and resources, and follow the discussion as it progresses through the campaign. I hope to get some video footage to post over at the Giving Channel - and look forward to seeing the conversation and discussion provoke engaged, effective action.